Situated in a small park called Windmill Gardens, at the west end of Blenheim Gardens, London SW2, the Brixton Windmill is set to reopen to the public on 2nd May 2011 after eight months’ restoration work.
View from inside the Windmill, Windmill Festival July 2010
A Grade II listed building – and the only surviving windmill in inner London – the Brixton windmill was built in 1816 and passed down through successive generations of one family, Ashby & Sons, Millers of Brixton Hill, until Joshua Ashby (the grandson of the original owner) died at the age of 77.
The Provender Mill ceased production in 1934, with the London County Council purchasing the land and the windmill in 1957.
A slow decay followed until local residents’ action group, the Friends of Windmill Gardens and Lambeth Council secured a grant of £397,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Lisa Rigg, Development and Education Officer for Brixton Windmill explains what the restored windmill can offer the local community:
We want to show off a unique piece of London’s history. Over the next five years we are planning lots of fun activities and events for young people, families and the general public to take part in, including growing wheat and milling Brixton flour.
Vice-Chair of Friends of Windmill Gardens Richard Santhiri added:
I started the project to save Brixton Windmill 13 years ago. I was just one person in those days. The Friends of Windmill Gardens has grown and I am very proud to be part of such a special group of people who have shown such incredible determination to succeed.
We could not have come this far without the support and hard work of the local community. I grew up near the mill and it has always been in my life. I still have to pinch myself that the sails will be turning again. I feel very lucky
Owen L commented on the reopening:
The prospect of milling wheat with the provender mill (electric powered and with high quality french stones) is realistic, alas the sails will not get enough wind to grind wheat nowadays( urban congestion) and the mechanics of the mill are not the orignal (from 1816). There are plans to plant wheat around the mill and have educational groups from the local area grind wheat etc. Start sewing your smocks. more info here: http://brixtonwindmill.wordpress.com/